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The Misleading World of Atari 2600 Box Art

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the all-hail-marketing dept.

Games 267

Buffalo55 writes "These days, you don't have to worry about misleading box art, thanks to sophisticated video game graphics. In the 70s and 80s, though, companies tried to grab a consumer's attention with fancy artwork that bore no resemblance to the actual game. Atari, in particular, was one of the biggest offenders, particularly with its 2600 console."

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Missing Contents (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355816)

In the 70s and 80s, though, companies tried to grab a consumer's attention with fancy artwork that bore no resemblance to the actual game.

You mean your box didn't have pages of perforated LSD blotters in the back of the manual? You got fleeced.

Re:Missing Contents (-1, Offtopic)

allcar (1111567) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356068)

Isn't this exactly what just happened recently with the UK advertising standards agency upholding a complaint about an XBox advert using PS3 footage?

Re:Missing Contents (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356552)

You mean they handed out acid to people to help them enjoy the game footage?

Or did you just reply to the first post (without even reading it) so that you would be at the top of the thread?

Mod parent down for stupidity.

Also, [citation needed]

Re:Missing Contents (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356726)

Also, [citation needed]

Happy? [asa.org.uk] .

(The result was "The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.".)

Re:Missing Contents (1)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356808)

Okay, first the citation [yahoo.com] . They used PS3 footage for XBox's Final Fantasy XIII.

Secondly, I agree wholeheartedly that people who try to game the comment system by replying to the first post just to get at the top of the thread are fricking annoying. I wish I had modpoints left to downmod GP.

Re:Missing Contents (3, Insightful)

jekewa (751500) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356616)

Owning and/or having mates that owned almost all of the consoles of the era, I was keenly aware of the romance novel approach to cover art. I longed for the day when graphics in the game would match or exceed the package (and sometimes still do). I used to get by, however, by falling back on the imagination built as a younger child playing with Legos or other similar representations of near-real life. The blocky representations of characters and objects were abstract due to technical limitations, but by applying imagination to fill in the gaps, the sprites and geometric shapes would flush out in my head to be what was needed to make the experience enjoyable.

No LSD required.

Not much better on the C64 (5, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355860)

I never owned an Atari 2600, but I remember the same phenomenon on the C64. Box art was usually colourful and cartoony. Very few games (at least until you got to the tail end of the C64's popular life span, when you had games like the Creatures series) could come even close to living up to this. It was a good lesson at an early age that you should never take promotional material at face value.

I also remember the loading screens you'd get on the C64 while loading the game from tape (a process which would take several minutes and often fail before the end). These were generally just as "dishonest", though they were at least limited by the display resolution. In fact, worse than that, I remember one particular game where the box description actually told outright lies. It was a top-down racer (think Super Sprint) where the box text advertised weapons, oil-slicks etc, none of which were actually present in the game. I later found out that this was a semi-infamous title (in the UK at least); a sort of 1980s equivalent to Big Rigs Over the Road Racing.

Mind you, misleading box-art continued for quite a lot longer. X-Wing was a fantastic game, but I do remember being a little disappointed by the contrast between the movie-quality box art and the slightly sparse polygon graphics in game. That said, if I remember correctly, some editions of the first two Wing Commander games actually used screenshots for their front-cover art (or can somebody correct me on this - the screenshots may have been "touched up"?).

Even today, it still goes on to some extent. Ok, the differences are probably less pronounced. Box-art still tends to save screenshots for the back cover, but this is usually clearly for stylistic reasons (in fact, the trend seems to be towards box art that is simpler and sparser than a screenshot would have been). But we still get plenty of cases of "touched up" trailers, pre-rendered cutscenes shown at conferences with the implication that they're game-play footage and so on.

False advertising is legal (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356410)

We've all been subjected to so much false promises it's now part of culture. People expect, demand, massive promises, don't buy the product if it's not flaunted as an outright miracle, and don't complain when it ultimately doesn't fulfill expectations. It's established business practice, called marketing and advertising, and those who master it are rewarded with lots of money and prestige. Enforcing an actual, 100% fulfilled, do-as-you-say in the marketing business would mean practically a revolution. No more smiling hotties in car ads on empty roads, show traffic, stress, and endless expenses with insurance, parking. Lots of accident statistics, pollution. Just imagine the ads for junk food. Cavities, no nutritious properties, vastly overpriced and unhealthy salt-and-fat-and sugar based, fattening and artery-busting food. It implies deep changes in advertising profits, marketing, production, communication companies, culture.

Re:False advertising is legal (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356514)

To be fair, with 80's and 90's box art, we knew the graphics would look absolutely nothing like the cover, so it wasn't really dishonest.

Re:False advertising is legal (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356664)

I clearly remember looking at it and knowing full well it was false, but that I could tell that it was attracting me to pick up the box and want it. I remember feeling tricked, and wondering what the actual game would be.

Re:False advertising is legal (2, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356782)

I clearly remember looking at it and knowing full well it was false, but that I could tell that it was attracting me to pick up the box and want it. I remember feeling tricked, and wondering what the actual game would be.

Could you just turn the box over? Almost all my games (which were for the Acorn Archimedes, and published around 1988-1994) have a nice picture on the front, and actual screenshots on the back.

Re:Not much better on the C64 (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356526)

I never owned an Atari 2600, but I remember the same phenomenon on the C64. Box art was usually colourful and cartoony. Very few games (at least until you got to the tail end of the C64's popular life span, when you had games like the Creatures series) could come even close to living up to this. It was a good lesson at an early age that you should never take promotional material at face value.

Marketing is based on deception and considers it an important tool. This is nothing new.

It's like when a toothpaste brand says "9 out of 10 dentists recommend it!". In reality they may have interviewed hundreds dentists in groups of ten, over and over again, until they finally found a group of ten out of which 9 preferred their brand. What they strongly imply but do not actually go so far as to claim is that their group of ten is a representative sample of all dentists. Because they do not actually make this positive claim, they escape any accusations of false advertising. Yet it's quite misleading.

It's the same deal with the box art. They do not actually print "this is an in-game screen shot" yet they count on creating that impression. The intent behind this is clear enough.

This should be called "The Misleading World of Marketing" that happens to use the Atari 2600 as an example of a much wider phenomenon. Like politics and public relations, marketing is a field that is very attractive to liars who can say anything with a straight face while performing just enough CYA to perpetuate their ability to do it. Maybe "How to Turn a Pathological Personality Disorder into Profit" would be a better title. I don't think the general public has enough appreciation for the fact that making demonstrably false factual statements is a very crude and inefficient way to deceive someone. The state of the art in those fields is far more advanced than that, relying instead on framing, subtle implication, emotional appeals, misleading use of statistics, selective presentation of information, etc.

Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355872)

You know how many sugar laden pitchers of Kool-Aid I drank waiting for a massive jolly anthropomorphic red pitcher to burst through the side of my house?

And all I ever got was diabetes. Misleading advertising indeed.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355954)

You know how many sugar laden pitchers of Kool-Aid I drank waiting for a massive jolly anthropomorphic red pitcher to burst through the side of my house?

You must of gotten some bunk kool-aid.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (3, Insightful)

red_dragon (1761) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356308)

You must['ve] gotten some bunk kool-aid.

Probably Flavor Aid [wikipedia.org] . He should count himself lucky that he's still alive.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356012)

It could have been much worse. That giant anthropomorphic pitcher actually did burst through my wall. The entire side of our house caved in. The dog sustained a massive head injury from a flying brick and hasn't been the same since. My left arm was shattered, and my sister suffered compound fractures to both legs that prematurely ended her dancing career. That fat bastard pitcher just stood there with that self-righteous grin on his face while everyone was screaming and crying.

We tried to get some kind of legal remedy, but let's just say you'd be amazed at how many lawyers can be bought with the proceeds from selling sugar water. Please, if you must drink Kool Aid do so outside and away from any structures. To this day I shake uncontrollably every time I see some kid drinking Kool Aid near a brick wall.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (0, Offtopic)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356196)

^^^^^ Shame I posted as this is clearly worthy of some mod points.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (3, Funny)

Sandor at the Zoo (98013) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356268)

"Insightful"? Who was drinking Kool-Aid when they...

This is the only failblog post I've every bookmarked: Graffiti Win [failblog.org] I'm compelled to visit it every few months, and it never fails to make me chuckle.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356298)

And Guyana? That fat, sucrose-laden sociopath Fucked those people UP.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (1)

Cetme (1884904) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356314)

We tried to get some kind of legal remedy, but let's just say you'd be amazed at how many lawyers can be bought with the proceeds from selling sugar water.

Perhaps the judge was metaphorically "drinking the Kool-Aid" as well?

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (1)

box4831 (1126771) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356370)

That fat bastard pitcher just stood there with that self-righteous grin on his face while everyone was screaming and crying.

Sounds like a true slashdotter.

Everyone drinks the Kool-Aid, like it or not (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356480)

There is nothing else in the stores or on TV

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356692)

OH-YEAAAAHHH!!!

Oh... no...

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356736)

Well, to hear Alan Moore and Peter Bagge [againwiththecomics.com] tell it, the ol' jug's had some rough times himself. He wishes he could stop friggin' smiling!

.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356026)

You know how many sugar laden pitchers of Kool-Aid I drank waiting for a massive jolly anthropomorphic red pitcher to burst through the side of my house?

OH YEEAAHHHH!!! [jokes.com]

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356148)

Don't listen to him. What he really got was Kool Aid laced blotter acid. Then you really did see massive jolly anthropomorphic red pitchers bursting through the side of your house. And depending on how good said blotter was....maybe you stopped drinking Kool Aid forever.

Re:Not As Bad as Kool-Aid (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356244)

Mod parent up-- informative!

I remember standing in the front door of my grandparent's house yelling "Hey! Kool-aid!" over and over, waiting for the exact same thing. They were baffled, but let me tire myself out. I think I was 5 or so.

Obligatory XKCD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356506)

The misleading lives on (2, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355890)

Mostly through concept art and cinematics presented as teasers to the customers, allowing them to erroneously believe this will be actual gameplay.

Re:The misleading lives on (3, Informative)

ZaMoose (24734) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356024)

Penny Arcade coined a term for this: bullshot [penny-arcade.com] .

Still as relevant today as it was in 2005.

Re:The misleading lives on (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356074)

Still every bit 100% relevant every time you see a racing game demo where the camera spends too much time showing the car racing towards the camera rather than inside the driver seat or hovering above the car facing the road ahead.

Re:The misleading lives on (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356088)

I can't stand it when I go on Gametrailers and I see "OMFG WORLD EXCLUSIVE TRAILER FOR ::INSERT AMAZING GAME HERE::"...and then it ends up just being a CGI cutscene, with ZERO gameplay shown. Yes, Dragon Age 2...I'm looking at you, you fucking clod.

Re:The misleading lives on (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356136)

Don't forget Star Wars Old Republic... Grand Turismo 5... the list is a long one.

Re:The misleading lives on (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356340)

To be fair, that Star Wars Old Republic trailer is cool.

Or maybe I just thought that because it was better than Episodes 1-3.

Link goes to part 2 instead of part 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33355892)

Start here instead: http://www.rundlc.com/news/the-misleading-world-of-atari-2600-box-art-xbox-live/

The actual URL even includes "part-two" in it. I guess the misleading world of Atari 2600 box art just evolved into the misleading world of Slashdot editing.

Re:Link goes to part 2 instead of part 1 (3, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356126)

Actual Slashdot comment (2, Interesting)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355900)

I think it was more funny to pick up C64 games and see the words "actual C64 screenshot" during the late 80s when some game companies would put the Amiga screenshots on C64 boxes. I still see people referencing this phenomenon as a joke these days.

I liked it. (3, Insightful)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355948)

I don't know. I really liked the box art. I think it helped make the game more than just the blocky pixels you saw on the screen.

Re:I liked it. (5, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356288)

If they had shown actual screen shots, no one would have bought the things. ;)

But seriously, in those days I saw the box art as similar to the painted covers on the paperbacks I was buying: a visual to feed your imagination, showing what the characters and setting "really" looked like. I didn't expect the latest Asimov or Niven book to be fully illustrated comics, and I didn't expect Atari or C64 games to be fully-rendered movies.

Re:I liked it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356724)

I concur. I haven't seen news of women rising up across the nation because there are no naked pictures of Fabio in the latest Danielle Steele novel.

Just like 3D movies (1)

KingBozo (137671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355950)

So this is just like wrapping a crappy movie in 3D to make people forget that the story like is a steaming pile.

Re:Just like 3D movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356488)

Er.... no. That's not even close.

It would be more like putting a 3D hologram on the cover of a 2D VHS cassette, but thanks for trying to contribute.

This isn't misleading (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355964)

This sort of thing was common even through the early 90s for computer games. People understood that the graphical level on the boxes wasn't anywhere near the level of the games. It is misleading to call this sort of thing misleading.

Re:This isn't misleading (1)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356500)

Calling this stuff misleading is like calling an illustration on the cover of War and Peace misleading. It's not like you'll get to see that exact image by reading the text in the book.

Photoshop and magazines/movie posters/etc (2, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356654)

"Everyone knows" is the phrase tossed around when people comment on how an actor or actress looks in a photo shoot or on a movie poster. Kiera Knightley has been photoshopped more than once and commented on it, http://www.ministry-of-information.co.uk/blog1/keiramanip.htm [ministry-o...tion.co.uk] They like to endow her with a breast size nature didn't and one she won't use surgery to obtain. From presenting perfect complexions to lightening the skin of black female celebrities; especially Beyonce; we are bombarded by what marketers perceive as the perfect image.

Technology caught up with games, yet I have found that some of the games that strive for the most in realism sometimes look more fake as one bad effect can blow the entire presentation.

Re:This isn't misleading (1)

kingduct (144865) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356774)

In other news, people were heard complaining that the letters F A B I O look nothing like the hunky guy on the cover of their romance novels...

Video card speed metaphors (2, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355978)

If you remember video card boxes in the 90s, they always seemed to be starving for metaphors for faster speed. First a hot rod, then a plane, then a space ship. They finally just ended up putting some Aboriginy guy on the cover. I didn't know they ran that fast.

Re:Video card speed metaphors (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356106)

Is that any different than the buxom chick in a skin tight body suit and carrying a sword that is so common these days?

Re:Video card speed metaphors (1)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356160)

Actually what I can't believe is that we're talking about how stupid marketing people are. Yes, they are stupid and we're tired of them. Let's move on.

Re:Video card speed metaphors (3, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356580)

Is that any different than the buxom chick in a skin tight body suit and carrying a sword that is so common these days?

Hey, let's be fair, now. She sometimes has a gun.

Ah yeah... (2, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33355998)


Remember that game The Black Hole? Based on the Disney movie? They had the goatse guy on the cover. I remember starting the game up and thinking "Hey, where are the hands?"

Maybe I imagined that.

Star Raiders (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356010)

My favorite box art of the 80's was "Star Raiders" for the Atari 400/800 computers. It bore only an abstract resemblance to the game. I could waste a whole day playing that game. I'd love to see a faithful update to Star Raiders.

Re:Star Raiders (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356414)

I had that on the 5200. Loved it. Yes, the graphics were crap, but it really didn't matter.

Back in the day when games required imagination. (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356030)

Do you think gamers 30 years ago expected photorealistic games? If the game was well written, the screens became more than just a smattering of blocky pixels, in the same way that a cardboard box could become an impenetrable castle.

I love modern technology, but it seems to be feeding a growing segment of the population with no desire for creativity or imagination. Read a book, people!

</getoffmylawn>

Re:Back in the day when games required imagination (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356324)

I love modern technology, but it seems to be feeding a growing segment of the population with no desire for creativity or imagination. Read a book, people!

Or at least go play Dwarf Fortress. That's probably the only 'modern' game that I know of where the ability to construct a mental 3D view of the world from 2D slices is essential to success.

Re:Back in the day when games required imagination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356822)

Dwarf fortress is awesome.

I just wish Toady would implement better population checks on goblin invasion forces. So far, I have captured more than 3x my dwarf population in goblin invaders. My fortress has three whole levels of "Halls of shame" dedicated to this purpose.

Good thing the dwarves enjoy seeing caged goblins.

Book are even more misleading ! (2, Funny)

DrYak (748999) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356422)

Read a book, people!

Books are even worse :
You got a nice cover with a pretty picture, but once you open it, there's nothing else than lots of tiny letters everywhere !
That's definitely misleading !

Re:Back in the day when games required imagination (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356678)

Check out the picture of the 2600 Adventure box on this page [gameinfomania.com] , then look at the screen shot of the dragon on this page [videogamecritic.net] . Somebody get this FREAKIN' DUCK AWAY FROM ME!

All kidding aside, the cover art on some of these games is worthy of framing in its own right.

Game Box Art (1)

eudas (192703) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356080)

These days you dont have to worry about misleading game box art because you don't usually actually buy a box at all, what with most people buying digitally and all.
No product delivered = no box.

Re:Game Box Art (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356420)

Im sorry my TOWER of games disagrees with your 'most people'. 'Most people' I know want a freeking disk. They know better than to trust game companies. We have been playing this game for years. We have bought our 'remakes' and their ilk over the years. We all have had our library of games disappear from these sites. Then spent hours getting them back.

We buy the 'cheapo' games digitally. For ones we want we stay far away from any sort of activation or DRM.

Take for example interplay. Not whoever the current incarnation is. They released some top notch games back in the late 90s. Would I still be able to play their games if I had not had the CDs and had to rely on their servers? No they went under ages ago. Game companies come and go. Yesterdays powerhouse is tomorrows name to be traded on wall street like a baseball card.

Now for a good segment of the gaming public. Loosing 5-10 games is no big deal. For someone who is into gaming such as I am I will not tolerate it.

Digital downloads are just a way to cut out resale. It is that simple. This will have a nasty side effect of creating a hole in the gaming market where prices sky rocket. Do not doubt it.

You are slowly being cornered into non ownership of something you should be able to own.

Re:Game Box Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356590)

For someone whose entire life consists of playing games in my parent's basement while munching on cheetos and totinos pizza rolls I will not tolerate it.

FTFY.

Remember (4, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356120)

That artists that created the box art were often working several months in advance of the game being finalized. That pretty much means that they had the conceptual drawings by someone that were given to the developer and computer artists rather than an actual game.

So they had no idea what the game might look like. The programming wasn't done yet.

As someone that worked on a couple of 2600 games that were released under the Parker Brothers label, I can assure you that the boxes were done long before the code was completed. And the box production people were simply not interested in looking at what had been completed. We were in different parts of the country.

Incredible as it might seem, this is how software publishing works. The manual get done before the code is done. The artwork is conceptual because it has a significantly longer lead time. Marketing materials are approved and printed weeks before the gold master CD is burned. Everyone has a schedule and deadlines and stuff has to be done pretty much the way it was planned or it looks like something that was put together by a couple of high school kids after school.

Sure, it would be nice if everything could wait for the highly flexible and iterative development process to complete before committing to graphics for advertising. Except you would miss the big presentation at the trade show and nothing would get sold to the distributors, meaning nothing gets sold to the retailers. So everyone gets to go home and the furniture gets auctioned off along with the computers, phones and pretty posters on the walls. Yup, been there and done that as well for some people that didn't understand how the process works.

Intellivison Got it Right! (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356138)

Growing up with Intellivision rather than Atari apparently made all the difference when it came to game box art! The first 16-bit game system definitely made me appreciate games and game art at an early age

Intellivision game boxes actually were very representative of the game play, although obviously indulged to be more artistic in presentation than the actual 16-bit (or 10-bit the way you look at it) graphics were capable of at that time. Here are a few [tumblr.com] examples [vgmuseum.com] .

Some of the more crazy titles indulged a little more: like Astrosmash [brooklynboysgames.com]

slashdotted (1)

Vorpix (60341) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356156)

i kinda wish rorr.im worked for slashdot. :-\ i mean, we INVENTED slashdotting.

Books... (1)

AnotherShep (599837) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356172)

Novels are also very guilty of this. They're just freaking words, not even crappy pictures! Quite a ripoff. I want to SEE the tits, not read about them. (Yeah, yeah, I should go to the magazine rack. Not the point, people.)

Re:Books... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356478)

Quite a ripoff. I want to SEE the tits, not read about them. (Yeah, yeah, I should go to the magazine rack. Not the point, people.)

Oh, how quaint. Old fashioned glossy magazine porn. Do people still use analog porn? I figured the internet would have put most of those out of business.

Game Over (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356182)

Anyone remember the 8-bit game 'Game Over'? Now that was misleading, even though they mimicked the box 'art' in the title screen. Gained notoriety for being the first box art needing to be withdrawn and redone (well, in the UK at least - not sure about anywhere else).

Here's [mobygames.com] the game in question. Look at it, then click the title image. Yep, that's what you think it is. Then click on the gameplay images bottom-left. Err....hmm.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Game Over (2, Funny)

mccalli (323026) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356224)

"Then click on the gameplay images bottom-left."

That would be bottom-right of course. I knew that. Honest.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Game Over (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356652)

It needed alteration because it displayed visible nipples.

Re:Game Over (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356826)

Which is obviously more distrurbing than any level of gore.

Ikari Warriors for the PC... (3, Informative)

AdamTrace (255409) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356206)

I remember buying Ikari Warriors for the PC, way back in the day. The box had killer screenshots... the game looked exactly like the arcade game!

I loaded it up, and was met with horrific 4-color (white/black/cyan/magenta) graphics.

http://www.giantbomb.com/ikari-warriors/61-1619/all-images/52-164216/1029683900_00/51-803378/ [giantbomb.com]

When I looked more closely at the box, it had small print that said something like "Arcade-version images shown. PC images may be different", or something to that effect.

I was pissed. :(

Re:Ikari Warriors for the PC... (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356428)

Oh god, I remember that. Ikari Warriors came bundled with the first PC we ever had in our household (a then-top-of-the-line 286 12mhz). CGA graphics and PC speaker sound effects in all of their glory. I took one look at it and went back to my C64. Funny, really, that PC gaming felt so far behind the curve compared to the C64 at the time. I'm trying to remember when that changed; I guess Their Finest Hour (WW2 flight sim) was probably the first PC game I played that was clearly beyond anything the C64 could do.

Re:Ikari Warriors for the PC... (1)

Zlorfik (199901) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356466)

This was my biggest C-64 disappointment. I bought Ikari Warriors, and while I didn't expect it to match the arcade gfx shown, it was bad. It's on level with ET or Pac-Man on the 2600. I dubbed it Atari Warriors.

Re:Ikari Warriors for the PC... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356504)

I loaded it up, and was met with horrific 4-color (white/black/cyan/magenta) graphics.

Man, I haven't seen cyan and magenta on screen in years. That's hilarious. :-P

Re:Ikari Warriors for the PC... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356610)

There is a special level in hell reserved for whoever decided on the CGA color palette. There is nothing wrong with having only 16 colors due to technical limitations. Why they picked the absolute worst possible 16 colors is where the sin lies.

Re:Ikari Warriors for the PC... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356786)

I had Double Dragon for the PC, and while it had EGA graphics that closely resembled the arcade game, I played it in CGA mode because the control was so much better. I assumed that this was because of my 10 MHz XT, but years later I tried it on my 486 and it was still sluggish. They clearly tried to make the timing cpu-independent, but in the end made it too slow to play on ANY system.

Same thing happens when I go to resturaunts. (2, Insightful)

Jetrel (514839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356218)

You know I have the same thing when I go to a restaurant. The picture of the burger looks oh so good but when I get it, it's just a smushed crap sandwich in a wrapper.

Re:Same thing happens when I go to resturaunts. (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356348)

You've made a mistake. You're calling McDonald's/Burger King/Wendy's/etc a "restaurant". You've misled.. yourself.. Now if you want a good tasting burger that looks like it does on the menu, go to Red Robin (if you're lucky enough to have one nearby!).

Re:Same thing happens when I go to resturaunts. (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356828)

I've always wanted to do a website called "the real sandwich" which would compare the advertised product to what you actually receive. I've been too lazy to do it, though. Recently stumbled across a site called FoodIRL ( http://foodirl.com/ [foodirl.com] ) that does the same thing, though it's woefully sparse.

Book Cover (1)

bobbagum (556152) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356222)

This is any different from book cover how?

Re:Book Cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356416)

Easy. Here's a book cover [amazon.com] and it doesn't have a picture of someone cooking numbers next to a space dog.

Re:Book Cover (1)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356686)

I read this book [oreilly.com] and found the language to be suited to harsh environments, stubborn, and smelly.

We used to call it "imagination" (4, Insightful)

ShannaraFan (533326) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356228)

Back then, you filled in the missing content with your imagination. These days, nobody has one anymore. Games (and movies) have to spell out every little detail, leaving nothing to the imagination. Remember seeing the Balrog on film? Was that what you imagined it to look like when you read the book? Wasn't what I had pictured, but I can't read the book now without seeing it the way it was depicted in the movie. Kinda sad, in a way.

Re:We used to call it "imagination" (1)

bastia (145202) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356804)

Just don't watch the movie too many times. Eventually you'll forget, and you can go back to imagining whatever you want. This infection of someone else's image isn't a new problem. People have been making realistic paintings and drawings for centuries.

And instead of just bemoaning the lack of imagination, we should think about what is missing when the consumer doesn't supply something himself. I think that it's neat that the technology is advanced enough that Mr. Jackson can show me what he was imagining. But there are things that are difficult to show, and I think that Shelob is a better example of that. After they did a pretty good job with the Nazgûl and the Balrog, I was hoping for more with Shelob. I was disappointed that they just seemed to present her as a big spider. I always wondered how they'd try to convey a sense that she was the "last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world....who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness."

I think that's really hard to convey in a movie, but it didn't seem like they even tried. It's hard to show someone what a complete, oppressive, and malevolent darkness is like. Something that makes your mind forget what light is. Shelob isn't a big spider. She's more like a demon in current terminology: the embodiment of an ancient evil. With good writing and a good imagination in the reader, Shelob becomes much more terrifying than a big spider.

Like today's ads that only show cutscenes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356232)

Have you ever seen an ad for halo that actually showed the game gui?

The big rollout of ads for BC2 never showed the game. Just a bunch of cutscenes.

There was nothing misleading about it (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356254)

Screen shots of the graphics back then wouldn't sell the game (especially not in the case of unsavvy parents and grandparents buying the games for their kids/grandkids), so they usually designed box art that was attractive and evocative of the title. Many of them were really well done, and remember that that was in the days before Photoshop and Illustrator. Whoever owns the rights on those images should sell enlarged reproductions-- they'd probably do okay among the nostalgia crowd.

If you wanna talk misleading box art, how about the Colecovision console? IIRC, the box that thing came in was *covered* with screen shots of games, many of which never actually came into existence. They put out a few catalogs with pages full of vaporware, too.

~Philly

Re:There was nothing misleading about it (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356744)

Exactly. Think about the art on the sides of the big arcade consoles. Few (if any) of them used only game graphics. The graphics sold the experience. The games stood on their own. I, for one, loved many of them, including Atari's "Dungeon" (was that the name) wherein the dragons looked like wierd ducks. The Raiders of the Lost Ark game was great, too, even if the graphics were blocky. Prior to that, there was Pong, and prior to that we had some (imo) lame hand-held football games. Heck, Activision's Pitfall was wonderful. I'd play that today in all its pixelated glory if given the chance.

A bit out of date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356256)

I know slashdot stories tend to come out a bit late now days, and that is not such a bad thing. But... damn.

What about today's games... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356260)

Plenty of TV commercials show nothing but cutscenes and not actual game play.

What about ET? (1)

HiChris! (999553) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356382)

It looked exactly like the cover

...except for ALL the details

...and that the game sucked

Really few of the Atari games boxes looked like the game - but it was pretty obvious.

Cap guns (4, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356510)

And the cap gun you bought at the toy store didn't shoot real bullets. Before the age of computer photorealism, there was imagination.

I bought a book yesterday (5, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356554)

It had a color picture on the cover.

Yet inside there were just black letters on white pages bearing no resemblance to the scantily clad lady on the cover.

Text-Based Games (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356608)

You think that's misleading, how about the awesome box art... for a text-based role playing game.

Not Just Atari (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356620)

Atari? Try Infocom, or any of the other less established companies that produced text adventures into the early 90s.

Which isn't to say that I take exception with this practice; on the contrary, it's an example of why box art needn't accurately represent the contents. The art was simply something to admire, like the dust sleeve of a sci-fi novel. In some cases it added to the overall effect of the game; in others it added to the mystery. And back in the age of a prepubescent internet, genres were less rigid and reviews of a given title could be much harder to come by, so each new game purchase was almost always a mystery.

Of course, there was also *zero* expectation that a game would resemble the cover art back then. Everyone knew this and for the most part nobody cared. These days, a CG scene on a box (or TV commercial) could reasonably be construed to represent the game content, and a variance between the two could therefore be seen as misleading, or worse.

Still, I've always been told that you can't judge a book by its cover, and packaged software, while typically (though not always) sold on a medium other than book/paper, was no exception. That's was as true back then as it is today.

Re:Not Just Atari (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33356770)

If you buy something called a *text* adventure expecting the *graphics* to be like the box, you are an idiot.

The opposite... (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356700)

I see it as the opposite of the way the summary described it: When I had a 2600 I *knew* the games weren't going to look like they did on the box art. It just wasn't possible. These days, gamers are treated to bullshots, hi-resolution scripted renders, and other kinds of doctored media designed to make gamers think the game looks better than it really does. This is especially common, I've noticed, on the console side of gaming where the graphical fidelity achievable on modern computers isn't attainable anymore (this gen).

Not as misleading as Infocom graphics (1)

joelsanda (619660) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356754)

I still play text adventures/interactive fiction - but I remember getting a kick out of the box art on early Infocom games - the box my Zork came in had numerous pictures of a guy wielding a sword and carrying the famous brass lantern!

False advertising is everywhere (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356772)

Nobody has even mentioned padded bras... oh wait, this is slashdot, isn't it.

Suckered in by web server box art? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356784)

The guy who wrote this must have been suckered in by misleading web hosting box art because the site is slash dotted.
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